A New York City transplant has received backlash after complaining that she “hates” living there, but not for the “typical” reasons.
“Like, honestly, I’ve really thrived here in a way,” Johnson said in the video she posted on April 15. “Like, I immediately got great jobs, I found an amazing apartment. I found an amazing boyfriend here. Overall, like, New York did not chew me up and spit me out. I just, I don’t like it. I just feel so much happier every time I leave, bro.”
According to a report from RentCafe, as cities began to reopen again amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gen Z-ers have increasingly been relocating to them from smaller towns. In 2022, Manhattan recorded a 63% increase in rental applications, the report says. This sudden, significant shift is likely due to the fact that bigger cities typically offer bigger opportunities, which Johnson admits to benefiting from.
Despite acknowledging that “workwise” she’s “never been doing better” and she’s “never had so many people, like, trying to hire me for jobs,” Johnson claims that all you do in the city is “you eat, you go to a weird goddamn theater, and you get drunk and you go to work.” Per her profile, Johnson is a photographer and set designer.
Now, creators are calling Johnson out for failing to immerse herself in the city’s diverse communities.
On April 25, creator @therealcornpop called her out for her alleged belief that the city she lives in should serve her rather than the other way around.
New York City reportedly has the largest population of Gen Z-ers, at 2.3 million.
It’s becoming more common for “middle- to high-income-earning young professionals, especially if they’re white and if they’re from somewhere that’s not an urban area, to have this mentality that cities are there for you to experience, and that’s it,” he explains.
@therealcornpop reveals that he moved to the south of Baltimore after college. He notes that due to the city’s reputation of having bad crime, he was fearful to enjoy the area.
“When we moved here, I had this fear that I wouldn’t be able to really enjoy where I lived because I was afraid of crime. Because I was a chicken and also because I had some deep-seated racism that was making me think that way,” he admits.
@therealcornpop had an eye-opening experience after speaking with one of his neighbors about Baltimore’s reputation.
‘That’s what feeling like you belong in a city is like. It’s where you make as much of an effort to give to it as you are hoping you could ever take from it.’
“And so I talked to my neighbors when I first moved in, and I said, ‘Hey, you know, like, what do you think about the reputation of the city, like, with relation to gun crime?’ And I remember him f***ing laughing at my face and he said, ‘Dude, look at you. You think you’re gonna be the victim of gun crime?’ And I was just, you know, I was embarrassed. Of course I was.
“You have to be willing to show the people who you are hoping to live around, the people who you are hoping to form community with, that you’re there for them as much as they are already there, hopefully to hang out with you and to give you stuff, right?” he continues. “Like, that’s what community is. That’s what feeling like you belong in a city is like. It’s where you make as much of an effort to give to it as you are hoping you could ever take from it.”
‘If you think New York is boring, you will think anywhere is boring because you have created a boring life for yourself’
“you don’t have to like new york but if you’re bored, you’re boring,” Tamika writes.
While she took no issue with Johnson not liking the city, Tamika did question the validity of the reasons she presented.
“It’s OK to hate New York. It really is. A lot of New York natives will disagree with me. They have very strong feelings about their city, but especially if you are someone that gets your joy from that outdoorsy lifestyle as she seems to be, it makes sense that New York wouldn’t be for you,” Tamika says. “However, if your reason for hating New York is that you think it’s boring, there are, like, centuries’ worth of people’s lived experiences that beg to differ.”
“Like, if all you’re doing is eating, drinking, going to some ‘weird freaking theater’ and going to work, that’s because the only places you have taken yourself are to eat, to drink, to the weird theater, whatever that means, and to work,” she continues. “If you think New York is boring, you will think anywhere is boring because you have created a boring life for yourself.”
Tamika also notes that being part of a community is accepting that there are homeless people around you.
“So to be like, ‘Oh, there are homeless people harassing me if I go to the park,’ like, one, that is not most people’s experience. And two, are they, like, harassing you or are they, like, asking for money because they need a helping hand to survive, right,” Tamika explains. “Be in community with the people in New York.”
‘I also think so many people think the culture of a city is something that happens to them vs something they contribute to’
Both @therealcornpop and Tamika’s response videos have gained quite a bit of traction. Fellow TikTok users have sounded off in the comments, and many are agreeing with the points they’ve brought up pertaining to community.
“Also a difference between ‘what is this city doing for me’ vs. ‘how can I exist in this new space,'” @heyklhey wrote.
“But this isn’t about hating New York. This is a problem with HER hobbies and interests. Not New York,” @rachie_o replied.
“People get frustrated with people who ‘hate New York’ because these people move here, drive up prices, then leave,” @afterr.hourrs said.
“I also think so many people think the culture of a city is something that happens to them vs something they contribute to,” @i.miss.the.mexican.pizza commented.
As articulated by @therealcornpop and Tamika, a crucial component of feeling at home in your city is the willingness to immerse yourself in its culture. Of course, big cities aren’t for everyone, and your 20s are a time for you to experiment and explore what suits you best.
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